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5G Nationwide vs 5G Ultra Wideband: What’s the difference?

(Originally published May 6, 2021. This post has since been updated.)

5G has quickly become the leading standard for wireless connection and communication. Since its introduction in 2019, it has grown in accessibility and popularity in more areas.

Previously, we covered the 5G basics and what you should know about 5G. In this blog, we’ll answer your questions about 5G Nationwide and 5G Ultra Wideband, what the difference is between the two, and what you can expect in the future.

What is 5G?

5G is the most recent generation in technology for broadband cellular networks. As a leap forward from 4G and 4G LTE, it offers astonishing speed with near-zero lag for a more seamless and satisfying mobile experience. That means you can work, stream, watch, listen, and game online faster than ever before.

What is 5G Nationwide?

Think of 5G Nationwide as the new standard for everyday 5G connectivity. It runs on a low-band spectrum using Dynamic Spectrum Sharing to give you widespread coverage, running simultaneously alongside 4G LTE.

By combining both technologies at the same time, the carrier can maximize convenience for both 5G and 4G/4G LTE customers with no interruption in service. Users continue to experience consistent performance and connectivity across the majority of the country, even in more remote areas.

What is 5G Ultra Wideband?

5G Ultra Wideband is Verizon’s most high performance 5G. In contrast to 5G Nationwide, it uses high-band, ultra-wide mmWave spectrum. This delivers the fastest, most powerful 5G on the market today.

5G Ultra Wideband’s speed and near-zero lag mean that we can expect increased performance for everyday activities, like multi-player gaming, high-def streaming, and video.

The staggering capacity of 5G Ultra Wideband also promises a brighter, more immersive and interactive future for medicine, public works, entertainment, smart cars, and home appliances.

Where is 5G Ultra Wideband available?

Recently, Verizon has expanded 5G Ultra Wideband to more places with C-band technology. C-band operates on the mid-band spectrum, helping to effectively bridge low-band 5G Nationwide and high-band 5G Ultra Wideband performance.

The addition of C-band means that Ultra Wideband is now available to 100 million people in 1,700+ cities across the country.

Verizon 5G Ultra Wideband speeds

5G service has the ability to perform leaps and bounds better than the previous 4G/4G LTE standard in three critical areas:

Speed: 5G Ultra Wideband offers peak download speeds of 4+ Gbps and upload speeds of 200+ Mbps. In contrast to average 4G speeds of about 30-35 Mbps, that means you’ll be able to download an entire 4K definition movie nearly as fast as you can click on the title.

Latency: 5G Ultra Wideband provides super low-latency, meaning online gaming, streaming entertainment, video chatting, and AR feel like they’re happening in real time with virtually no time spent buffering.

Capacity: Ultra Wideband 5G has the ability to handle enormous capacity, meaning it offers reliable performance in places like stadiums, airports, and other crowded venues. So you’ll experience fewer bottlenecks where thousands of people use their phones at once.

Verizon 5G Nationwide vs. 5G Ultra Wideband

There’s no need to choose. Both 5G Nationwide and Ultra Wideband – with the right plan and compatible devices – offer you high quality, exceptionally fast, low lag wireless performance. When you’re in an area where Ultra Wideband or Nationwide is available, you’ll be able to automatically connect.

When leaving an Ultra Wideband-covered area, you’ll remain on the 5G Nationwide network, so you don’t lose coverage. And even if you’re not in a 5G area, you’ll still have access to the provider’s dependable countrywide 4G/4G LTE network, so you can stay connected virtually anywhere.

Verizon 5G coverage map

Coverage is already available in a majority of the US, reaching 230+ million people. Along with a $50 billion expansion that is now bringing 5G to more people, Verizon also offers 5G Home, a home internet solution now available in a growing list of select cities, including these locations:

  • New Orleans, LA
  • Fresno, CA
  • Riverside, CA
  • San Antonio, TX

Check out the 5G coverage map to learn whether Nationwide and Ultra Wideband are available in your area.

How do I get 5G Ultra Wideband?

You need to be a Verizon customer. Accessing 5G Nationwide and 5G Ultra Wideband requires a qualifying Unlimited plan, like 5G Get More.  Enjoy the best in streaming, like the Disney+/Hulu/ESPN+ bundle, along with Apple Music, and gaming options that include Apple Arcade or Google Play Pass. Store your photos securely with Verizon Cloud. And get unlimited data and premium network access.

To get the best of the network, make sure you’re also using a 5G UW-capable device.

What does 5G UW mean?

This is an abbreviation. 5G UW is short for 5G Ultra Wideband. You’ll see it in the titles for new smartphones (motorola edge 5G UW, for example, and the Kyocera DuraSport 5G UW) and other wireless devices. That doesn’t mean that your old 4G/4G LTE phone won’t be able to connect to the internet. It should still work just fine, but without a 5G UW phone, you won’t be getting the full experience of 5G.

Shop the latest 5G UW phones

The Apple iPhone 13 Pro (now in Alpine Green) and other 13 series models are created to work seamlessly with 5G connectivity. Built with a powerful A14 Bionic chip and upgraded iOS, it works hard and looks even better. Other options, like the Samsung Galaxy S22, come with 8K video and its brightest display yet. Or try out the Google Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro, which offer unparalleled personalization and a Live Translate tool to make traveling more relaxing and accessible.

Join a revolution in speed, connectivity, and power. Visit a Cellular Sales store to shop our 5G phones and other devices poised to make your transition to 5G Ultra Wideband as smooth as possible.

Founded in 1993, Cellular Sales proudly serves as Verizon’s premier retail partner.  With almost 800 locations nationwide and more than 7,000 employees, we proudly connect customers with top-tier products and services.  We were recently named the Verizon Agent of the Year 2021 and have been named to Inc. Magazine’s 5000 as one of the nation’s fastest growing companies nine times. For more information, visit cellularsales.com or follow us on social media at facebook.com/cellularsales and @cellularsales on Instagram.  For career information, visit cellularsales.com/careers.